The Italian beauty continues to mesmerize.30,000 kms in the Punto MJD E+!!!
DISCLAIMER : This ownership review comes from a lay man who is a motorhead but is not technically very proficient! I am here to give a genuine review of a machine that has bought us innumerable smiles!!!
So here we go...
FIAT is a brand that I have always loved!
Selecting a hatchback was never a tough decision for us as my requriements we crystal clear.We had already zeroed down on the Fiat Grande Punto MJD E+. Reasons?
1) Exemplary Handling.
2) Best in class steering feedback.
3) Build Quality.
4) Safety features.
5) High speed stability.
Though I was aware about TASS and lack of niggle free ownership w.r.t Fiat, I was ready to take that risk as I was totally in love with this Italian beauty. I must say, the risk taken has paid off extremely well! No matter how much people abuse about the Fiat after sales service, almost 2 years and 30,000 kms,I have never come across any hassle w.r.t service nor has my Punto given any niggles so far.
Handling - This baby handles like a dream. I am yet to come across a hatchback on indian roads who handles as well as this Italian beauty! Also, the suspension is so good that it easily wallops the monstrous potholes of Pune.
Steering feedback - The steering is just so confidence inspiring! It's like it almost talks to you, lets you know EXACTLY on what kind of tarmac you are driving.
Build Quality - One word SOLIDDDDDD!!! you actually FEEL secure in it's tank like build. Do I have to say much about the "thud"? :D
Safety features - For me, this was one of the most important parameter while selecting our first car. With a cluster of safety features like ABS, EBD, Airbags for the given price...I was already grinning!
High Speed stability - Drive this baby on the Mumbai-Pune E way and you actually understand the meaning of this term. Ths combination of Handling, steering feedback and high speed stability makes it a dream drive. Grips the road hard and is straight as a bullet! Simple innit?
Looks - This parameter is subjective but still, Grande Punto qualifies to be one of the best looking hatchback on indian roads today. Nobody understands curves better than Italians do.
P.S - FE figures are 18-19 kmpl in city traffic and 21-22 kmpl on highways.
Where Fiat could have done a better job -
1) Fit and Finish - Strictly average but one can live with it. Interiors fail to give a "premium feel".
2) Turning Radius - way too long. Initially it was irritating on congested roads, but again, it is a matter of getting used to!
3) Better stereo - Stereo is crap to say the least. Could have been much much better!
But these areas not the ones who'll make your life miserable. One eventually gets used to it.
This is where I would like to emphasize a bit more. A lot have been said about Fiat indifferent to its customers w.r.t service. After flipping pages of the history book, we understand that , for this, they are themselves to blame.
Having said that, I would also like to quote that these guys are taking efforts to change this perception. All that is needed is better packaging of their efforts to successfully execute this "perception changing" exercise.I have never faced problems with spare parts (when my car needed a front left fender cuz an idiot drunk rickshaw driver banged into it), bloated service bills, timely delivery after service. It has all been very smooth. maybe, MAYBE I might have been one of those "always lucky" customers but have given timely feedback to FIAT about thier efforts, to the levelof Mr. Rajeev Kapoor.
I would pray that a brand like Fiat, who churns out such good products, should not go down the drain due to issues like service.
A line said by GTO in his review always rings in my mind and its so so true "This hatch pulls the strings to your heart like no other"
I would like to thank Fiat for bringing million smiles to our family. This car mesmerises me with its abilities everyday!